Business Briefs: CSX plans more cuts due to drop in freight

Business Briefs: CSX plans more cuts due to drop in freight

April 14th, 2016 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

NRC gives top ratings to Browns Ferry plant

For the second consecutive year, federal regulators have given top ratings for the safety performance at TVA's Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama.

The three-unit plant, which moved into the top rating in all safety areas in mid 2014, got another favorable assessment from the U.S. Nuclear Regualtory Commission for the 2015 results, according to an NRC letter released Wednesday

Alan Blamey, chief of the reactor projects for the NRC, said regulators "determined that overall, Browns Ferry Units 1, 2, and 3 operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety and met all cornerstone objectives."

Blamey told TVA officilas that NRC's evaluation "indicated that your performance was within the nominal, expected range." As a result of the assessment, the NRC plans to continue only its baseline inspections at Browns Ferry, as opposed to the heightened inspections done when the plant was judged not to be performing as well three years ago.

NRC will discuss the results of its yearly assessment of Browns Ferry during an open house from 6-7 p.m. next Tuesday, April 19 at the Aerospace Training Center Lecture Hall at the John C. Calhoun State Community College in Tanner, Ala.

Browns Ferry, located near Athens, Ala., is TVA's oldest and largest nuclear power plant capable of generating 3,297 megwatts of power, or 10 percent of TVA's total power load.

Gap names its supply exec as pressident of Old Navy

Gap Inc. has picked the leader of its global supply network to assume the helm of its low-price chain Old Navy.

Sonia Syngal is a 12-year company veteran who most recently served as executive vice president of Gap's global supply chain and product operations. She is filling the spot that became open when Stefan Larsson left last November to become CEO of Ralph Lauren Corp.

Larsson had transformed Old Navy into a powerhouse business — a bright spot for Gap — but recently Old Navy has stumbled.

The move comes at a critical time for San Francisco-based Gap, which is undergoing a transformation under its CEO Art Peck, who took the helm February 2015.

Last week, Gap reported that revenue at stores opened at least a year fell 6 percent in March. That marked the 12th consecutive monthly decline. By division, Gap's revenue at stores open at least a year fell 3 percent, while Banana Republic's key sales metric fell 14 percent and Old Navy saw a 6 percent drop.

Valeant CEO to appear in drug price probe

The chief executive of embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals, J. Michael Pearson, has agreed to be deposed by a Senate committee investigating the causes of soaring prescription medicine prices.

Meanwhile, the Canadian drugmaker has received a notice of default from some bond holders because it hasn't filed a financial report due in March. That's been delayed by a review of company accounting practices, which found Valeant prematurely reported $58 million in sales in 2014 to its former partner, mail-order pharmacy Philidor. Valeant now is revising earlier financial statements related to that.

Largest US coal miner files for bankruptcy

ST. LOUIS— Peabody Energy, the nation's largest coal miner, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday as a crosscurrent of environmental, technological and economic changes wreak havoc across the industry.

Mines and offices at Peabody will continue to operate as it moves through the bankruptcy process.

The bankruptcy filing comes less than three months after another from Arch Coal, the country's second-largest miner, which followed bankruptcy filings from Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal and Walter Energy.

CSX plans more cuts due to drop in freight

OMAHA, Neb. — CSX railroad plans to continue cutting costs this year to deal with slowing freight volume and declining profits.

Executives at the Jacksonville, Florida, based railroad discussed their outlook Wednesday — one day after reporting a 19 percent drop in first quarter profit.

"I'm really pleased with how we responded," Chairman and CEO Michael Ward said.

CSX said it reduced expenses by about $270 million in the quarter, and plans additional cuts through the year. About 2,000 workers have been furloughed and about 400 of the railroad's locomotives are parked.

CSX said coal demand remains anemic, and it expects to haul roughly 25 percent less coal this year. The strong U.S. dollar and weak commodity prices are hurting other shipments.

But the railroad still expects the economy to continue growing slowly. Ward said the economy is much better in areas that rely on consumer spending, such as automotive production, but weak in areas that involve heavy industry or trade.

"The consumer economy is solid," Ward said. "The industrial economy is more challenged."

That's why CSX predicts its earnings and total volume will decline in 2016.